Anyone who’s ever seen my beauty setup can immediately tell that I play favorites. The winners occupy prime vanity real estate up front and get regular cleanings. The less loved contenders sit sadly under a solid inch of dust in the back. This year the grimiest corner of my desk has been taken up exclusively by foundations. Like most of my colleagues, I’ve found that Zoom meetings and grocery runs just don’t call for a full-coverage formula. There are occasions (namely, days I want to take an especially extra selfie) when I’ve thought about applying foundation, but I have zero desire to spackle a thick layer of makeup on my face, which has already spent 2020 dealing with both mask-induced irritation and breakouts.
I honestly didn’t think any bottle was capable of escaping the back-row curse until I tried the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare. The brand’s Bye Bye Foundation and CC cream have already won places as honorary Glamour beauty department favorites, and I was instantly hooked in by the promise of a lightweight new formula that would play nice with my flaking skin and breakouts. It Cosmetics has a knack for whipping up makeup that blends antioxidant-rich benefits with second-skin finishes, but my hard-to-please self wanted something that was both lighter in feel and higher in coverage than its popular tinted moisturizers. This time around, I finally got exactly what I wanted.
Your Skin But Better features a buildable base that imperceptibly blends into your skin without settling into fine lines or dry patches. It’s packed with ultra-gentle acids to refine texture, along with hydrating hyaluronic acid, aloe, and vitamins E and B5. While my inner serum/essence/moisturizer enthusiast would never suggest that color cosmetics replace your skin-care essentials, I’m into the extra layer of nourishing ingredients that top off my multistep routine. Shade-wise, it’s also a definite step up. Shoppers have criticized limited options in earlier base makeup launches, but this one comes in 40 shades to suit a much more representative range of skin tones. Necessary, because I’ve started recommending it to everyone I know.
Out of the 40, my best match is currently Fair Warm 12 because it’s been a hot second since I’ve seen the sun. The color doesn’t lean overly warm on me, which I’m told is due to updated pigment technology: superfine particles and an amino acid coating that prevents oxidation and the dreaded orangey cast. It’s officially become the first thing I reach for every time I feel like doing a full face.
When the mood strikes, I squeeze a scant half pump on my hands and work it in with my fingers. My skin is currently going through a desert-level dry phase (please observe my lips flaking off above), but the hydrating liquid glides right over dead skin and rough patches seamlessly, making it look like I’ve spent the entire month languishing over a steamer. I’ve tried a lot of foundations that claim to be lightweight, and this one still manages to stand out for how fast it dissipates into thin air.
As for the most important test, it easily covers redness and hyperpigmentation in a single layer, without looking or feeling the slightest bit caked on. Welcome to the front row, It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better.
Sarah Y. Wu is a beauty writer in Berlin. Follow her on Instagram @say.wu.